Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Documentary Video Production

Shooting Interviews

This LinkedIn Learning course is a must-see for anyone shooting documentaries. It includes invaluable information about how to light, stage. and film an interview. 

Welcome from Video Foundations: Interviews by Anthony Q. Artis

Composition and Camera Motion

Although you will be capturing real events unfolding in real time, you can still be creative about how you compose your shots. See the links below for more information about the techniques of composition and camera motion.


Camera Motion


In documentary filmmaking, A-Roll is generally your interview footage, while B-roll is the supporting footage inserted between the interview clips. Some types of documentaries (poetic, observational) do not have this structure and consist entirely of A-Roll footage.

Filming Tips

CHECK YOUR BATTERIES & EQUIPMENT: This is something you want to check and double-check. Nothing is worse than being out on a shoot and having to call it quits because your camera died.

TAKE YOUR PLANNING MATERIALS: Don't forget to take your interview questions, maps, release forms, storyboards, and anything else you prepared for your shoot.

USE A TRIPOD: Using a tripod is a much-overlooked aspect of filmmaking. Your footage will look a lot more professional.

AVOID ZOOMING: Zooming is an art. Films with a lot of zooming resemble home movies.

STICK TO ONE ASPECT RATIO: Pick one aspect ratio (16:9 or 4:3) in your camera settings and don't change it. It will make editing much easier.

SHOOT MORE THAN (YOU THINK) IS NECESSARY: If you're not quite sure if you got the take right, try it again while you have everyone in place. Scheduling reshoots is difficult and inconvenient!

Creative Commons   This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 4.0 International License. | Details of our policy